IMO has held the latest in a series of regional webinars to address the challenges faced by seafarers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual event (held on 18 March) for the Latin American region identified best practices, covering issues including medical guidance, disembarkation of seafarers for medical care, vaccination, digitalization, mental health, and effects of COVID-19 on crew changes and repatriation.
“We all depend on seafarers. They should not be the collateral victims in this pandemic,” said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim, in his opening remarks. Mr. Lim also highlighted the need for cooperation and collaboration of marine administrations, countries, and other stakeholders to facilitate crew changes and the relevance of the regional webinars for exchanging views and finding solutions.
Speaking at the closure of the event, IMO Head of the Latin America and Caribbean Section, Carlos Salgado, emphasized the vital contribution of seafarers on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Julian Abril Head of IMO’s Facilitation Section highlighted IMO protocols for ensuring safe ship crew changes and raised the issue of priority vaccination for seafarers.
The webinar featured 18 speakers from the Latin American region. Participants included IMO Member States, representatives of government sectors and agencies, such as port authorities, customs, immigration, ministries of health, foreign affairs, and aviation involved in crew change, repatriation and other related key issues.